Tag Archives: monotype

Printmaking 101: Watercolor Monotype Process

As you look at Yolanda Frederikse’s current show (either online or in person), you may be struck by her use of watercolor.  Yes, these are watercolors, but they are also prints, specifically, Watercolor Monotypes.  Here is how the process works:


1. First, the artist (Yolanda is shown here and below) paints onto an aluminum lithograph plate.  To the left, you can see Yolanda preparing a plate, to the right is a fully prepared plate.  The plate is then left to dry.

2. The dry plate is positioned on the press bed.


3. Dampened paper is laid over the print (on the left) and the entire thing is run through the press (on the left).  The damp paper re-activates (re-wets) the watercolors on the aluminum plate, allowing for the transfer to happen.

4. We have a print!  As the name implies, this usually only yields one print per plate.  Occasionally, however, there may be enough pigment left on the plate for a strong second image or a weaker ghost image.

Your first question may be “why the extra step? Why not just make a watercolor?”  Yolanda answers, saying “effects are achieved with monotype are not possible in other forms of art [such as watercolor].”  In Yolanda’s watercolor monotypes in particular, one can see a certain uniformity of mark-making and color:  this is in part from the artist herself but also from a flattening, if you will, of how the paper uniformly picks up color off the plate.  Also, we like the tell-tale print edge, where the plate indented the paper, that is present on these monotypes.

October 2012 Show Pics

Sorry for the delay (camera trouble).  Here’s some installation shots of Old World and New: Apart, Though Still a Part in the main gallery space as well as the traveling mezzotint exhibition Both Sides of the Brain currently in the Press Room!

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Intern Perspectives: Three Figurative Printmakers

“Kitchen Worker” by Lee Newman

Below are Laura D.’s thoughts on our July Exhibition:

This month at the Washington Printmakers Gallery, Three Figurative Printmakers features works from Jack Boul, Robert D’Arista, and Lee Newman in the “American University Style.” Needless to say, this exhibit carries its own style amongst three different artists compared to past exhibits with multiple artists. Boul, D’Arista and Newman’s work compliments each other well – as their work reflects aesthetic values that came from the Studio House school of painting at the Phillips Collection.

The style of works is based mostly around monotypes; little color is seen throughout the exhibit – giving it a certain glow of darkness. Boul’s work is the most abstract, with works like Four Cows where one must look to find said cows; while Newman’s gives the eye more shapes and images to play with. This includes Studio Nude –  this print shows the figure and minimum detail, but just enough for the eye to continue to dance across the piece. Finally, D’Arista is a combination between the two. D’Arista includes pieces that are more abstract like Still Life with Tusche where, without looking at the title the subject matter isn’t immediately clear. Is it an apple and a bucket? Or a branch on a platter? The viewer must decide (or look at the title). But then D’Arista has more self-explanatory pieces like Seated Woman – which gives you the shapes, outlines, and shadows, that are also seen in Newman’s works.

These Three Figurative Printmakers could not have a more complimentary style. While each is unique in their own creativity, their use of monotype and other materials brings the collection together in a number of pieces that make the eyes dance across pieces from the flow of lines and shadows.

July 2012 Show Pics

Here is a quick slideshow of some of the work up in the gallery this month from Three Figurative Printmakers as well as Eric Robinson’s Press Room Mini Solo, Fragments.  This is by no means exhaustive–Eric has over 600 small prints up, Three Figurative Printmakers has 47 prints, and then there’s the member show as well, not pictured here.  Come in and visit us!

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Background on “Three Figurative Printmakers.”

“Cafe” by Jack Boul

The show is up!  We’ll have pictures tomorrow (we’re still working on getting some labels up) but we thought you might want to know a little more about the three printmakers, which we introduced in a previous post, and their relationship.

Both Jack Boul and Robert D’Arista were teachers of Lee Newman’s.  The American University Style that characterizes them grew out of the Studio School at the Phillips Collection.  The Phillips Collection was one of the first modern-focused museums in the area.  At the time, most fine art programs were based at museums, like the Corcoran School of Art is today.  American University, at the time of Boul, D’Arista, and student Lee, was one of the first schools in the area to have a fine arts program outside of a direct museum affiliation.  Today, many schools have their own independent fine arts programs, but it was unusual back then.

“Seated Figure” by Robert D’Arista

While all three of these artists have worked in different media, this show focuses on the three for which they are each best known: Jack Boul’s monotypes, Robert D’Arista’s drypoints, and Lee Newman’s (soft-ground) etchings.  Robert D’Arista would make his own drypoint and engraving tools, smashing semi-precious stones and then supergluing the fragments into a mechanical pencil.  These uniquely shaped tools give his drypoints a distinct quality.

“Kitchen Worker” by Lee Newman

After D’Arista passed, Lee Newman received many of his plates from which to print editions.  Lee said he had to study D’Arista’s mark-making all over again, as well as the prints he printed himself, to recreate D’Arista’s special way of wiping.  Lee said his style of wiping a plate simply did not work with D’Arista’s images.

We hope you’ll join us for the Artist Reception with Jack and Lee on Sunday, July 8, 2-5 pm.  Check back tomorrow for installation shots!

Printmaking 101: Mixed Media Monotypes and more

Are you interested in how Marian Osher created the lovely and vibrant prints in this month’s exhibition?  Below is a description of the two types of prints in the exhibition as well as a word on how she has protected the works.  Images provided courtesy of the Artist.

Sealing the edges of the foam core

Mixed-media monotypes on canvas

After creating a monotype on a mylar plate with water-soluble media, Osher transferred the image to dampened paper with her etching press. The monotype dried between blotters under weights for at least one night. After deciding which parts of the print would be raised and which lowered, she taped the monotype to a piece of acid free foam board and cut through the print and the foam board with a mat knife. Edges of the foam board shapes were lightly sanded and sealed with Golden GAC 100. The edges of the foam board and stretched canvas were painted with acrylic paint, choosing colors related to the monotype. The shell canvases were coated with beach sand

Raised Foam Core cut-outs and their corresponding prints and canvases before assembly

after painting. Using Golden Soft Gel Medium, pieces of the print were mounted on the foam board or stretched canvas. The foam board pieces were also mounted on the canvas. Drying the assembled work under weights prevented warping.

Relief monotypes on sculpted canvas
Monotype prints were mounted onto heavy floor canvas with Golden Soft Gel Medium and allowed to

Cutting out the monotype mounted on canvas.

dry over night under weights. Flower shapes were cut out, bent and molded to make the relief shapes. A layer of GAC 400 was applied to the back of the canvas as a stiffening medium to hold the relief shape. This was dried over night with tin foil supports under the raised areas and then “cured or set” with a hair dryer.

Preservation of the Artwork
Because Osher’s work is presented without conventional framing and glass, she consulted with Golden Artist Colors technical experts to learn about a six step

Relief monotypes drying, with aluminum foil "forms" helping to hold their shape.

archival process to protect and preserve her artwork. Two of the steps occur after the monotype is printed, flattened and dried. The final four steps of the process are applied after assembly of the artwork on canvas is completed.

Welcome Kiyomi Baird!

"Albedo" monotype by Kiyomi Baird

WPG is pleased to welcome Kiyomi Baird as a new artist member.  You may remember Kiyomi from her solo show in August, as the winner of last year’s National Small Works Exhibition.  If you didn’t get a chance to see her beautiful work, you can see some of the pieces that were included in her show on the website.  We have additional pieces exclusively in the gallery, as well.

Kiyomi says of her work “I create abstract spaces and forms that explore the movements of the cosmos and the mysteries of the mind. Both these dimensions…physical and spiritual…are infused with the same universal life force which expresses itself through an infinite variety of elemental shapes.”  We think that Kiyomi’s monotypes inspire a calming, meditative mood, especially her works in blue, and are perfect for anywhere in your home or office that needs a little bit more tranquility.  Stop by the gallery and pick out your favorite!

Intern Perspectives: Apercus

Read summer intern Ashley Ruel’s take on Kiyomi Baird’s solo exhibition, and hear Kiyomi’s artist talk next Saturday.  Today is the Opening Reception and Awards Announcements for NSW, 1-4, come and hear who will be next year’s solo artist!

Seeing a reproduction of Baird’s work on a postcard doesn’t do it justice. When you see the prints, so big and bold in their tangibility in front of you, certain features become more distinguishable and more eye-catching. The actual size of them gives you an idea of the scraped textures being made by the hand, and the chosen colors have a presence that play with your emotions. One feature a lot of them have is the metallic shine that breathes through some of the colors, which looks so magical yet natural, you can’t stop looking in awe.

"Poseidon's Breath," far left, discussed below.

Baird captured wild abstract forms and contained them on paper, each one bubbling with movement. With a variety of textures each mark could evoke any action. Depending on how you perceive these shapes, the prints might be splashing, burning, bursting, eroding, gusting or crashing within the frame. According to Baird’s artist statement, all this intensity takes place in the mind, and, as she says, “Titles, therefore, are merely potential post-facto interpretations of images that often elude description but make connections to thought and experiences.” It’s interesting how she describes this, because as soon as you see one of these prints you do make a connection no matter how abstract they are, with or without the title. In my mind it feels normal to seek explanations, so among them I see cliffs, horizons, winds, and planets. In the piece “Poseidon’s Breath” I see a long lost amulet that was just cast in the depths of the ocean. I would really encourage people to come and see what wonders you interpret from these pieces, or simply appreciate them glistening in their intense aesthetic value.


Sneak Peek: Apercus

National Small Works opens next week!  With it opens Apercus, the solo exhibition by Kiyomi Baird, the 2010 NSW First Place Winner.  Her prints arrived at the gallery yesterday–18 big, beautiful monotypes.  You can come see them all starting next Wednesday, but here are some to enjoy in the meantime:

"Genesis" monotype by Kiyomi Baird

"Music" monotype by Kiyomi Baird

"Albedo" monotype by Kiyomi Baird

"Tabeleau" monotype by Kiyomi Baird

Kiyomi Baird Update

Kiyomi with her winning print, "Mandala"

Kiyomi Baird’s print won first prize at last year’s National Small Works exhibition, which means she has this year’s accompanying solo exhibition!  We are very excited to welcome Kiyomi to the gallery, and wanted to tell everyone a little bit more about her and her work.

NSW 2010 winning print "Mandala" by Kiyomi Baird.

Kiyomi has lived and studied in Berlin, Tokyo, and the US.  Along with a focus on visual arts, she has also had the chance to work in dance, theater, and design.  She currently resides in New Jersey, but grew up in California as a third generation Japanese-American.  She says that her non-English speaking grandmother was “the household matriarch and a powerful influence on my childhood,” and that after moving to Tokyo she found that “certain aspects of my personality and art as essentially Asian,” saying “I often experience this oscillating cultural duality when I work. Indeed this inner tension may be what drives my efforts to create visual expressions of harmony and balance through the use of multicultural textures and patterns.”

"Alembic" Monotype by Kiyomi Baird

"Magnum Opus" Monotype by Kiyomi Baird

Kiyomi works with abstract, elemental images to explore both cosmological and spiritual landscapes.  The title of her upcoming show, Apercus, means “naturally emergent images that are free of any preconceived intention or analytic construct.”  With this in mind, Kiyomi say her work “flows from creative introspection that evokes images from substrata of the mind that I try to depict
directly….I hope these works might elicit in the viewer some of the feelings that inspired their creation.”

You can see more of Kiyomi’s work at WPG August 3-28.  She will also be giving an artist talk at the gallery on Saturday, August 13, at 1 pm.  If you are interested in applying for this year’s National Small Works, you can see the full prospectus at the link–but hurry–entries close this Sunday, May 15, at midnight.